- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Lieutenant Colonel (Lieutenant-colonel)
- Group Commander as Executive Officer, 441st Troop Carrier Group, United States Army Air Forces
Lieutenant Colonel William H. Parkhill was Group Commander and Executive Officer of the 441st Troop Carrier Group, 9th USAAF. On June 6, 1944 he was flying the lead plane of a serial of 301st and 302nd Squadron Douglas C-47s Skytrain or Dakota’s in Mission Albany a parachute combat assault at night by the U.S. 101st Airborne Division. It was the opening step of Operation Neptune, the assault portion of the Allied invasion of France, Operation Overlord. Aboard were Lt. Col. Robert A. Ballards’men of 2/501 PIR. Parkhill saw the thick cloudbanks at the west coast of the Cotentin Peninsula, and unlike those who had preceded him, he made a command decision – against orders – to fly under the clouds, at three hundred feet. His entire serial followed him under and past the cloudbanks, remaining in perfect formation, then climbing to 750 feet for the drop as they approached Drop Zone D near Angoville-au-Plain. Months later Parkhill received the DFC for his initiative, as well as a promotion to a higher command.